A time to change

There is a tinge of sadness with the passing of JBJ. And there will be a little ceremony in memory of him at the Hong Lim Park this evening. Among political observers, there is a big load of mixed feelings when they look closely at JBJ and the path that he travelled, battered and trampled, in the pursuit of a cause and to lead the people forward in a different way. These are noble and honourable goals which every able Singaporeans should aspire to. JBJ could have chosen a different path, in the pursuit of material wealth, and he could be very successful as a practising lawyer. Instead he ended up in the pathetic state he was in, as a politician on the losing side. How could our political system that is supposed to throw up leaders to lead the people be so cruel, vicious and unkind to political aspirants? They are not criminals or people who want to destroy the country. They stand up to provide an alternative to the people, to offer a different way forward. The people are fortunate to have these men offering them more alternative ways. The country can be richer and benefit from more political aspirants making themselves available to serve the people. Politics need not be a zero sum game, need not be an arena for gladiators to fight and kill or maim one another. It is the highest office of the land and the rules of the game must be that of noblemen and gentlemen. And participants, winners or losers, should remain honourable, highly regarded and well respected by the people, and least of all, remain as worthy opponents and colleagues, if not even friends. There were too many bad blood being spilled in the political arena over the years through a culture of robust demolition of political opponents. The aim is to maim and destroy at all cost. The losers must not be left standing. Such a vicious culture has no place in a developed society that we aspire to be. There are great models of political culture and conduct in the West for us to imitate and adopt. In America and Europe, you do not see the extent of helplessness in defeat in the losers of an election. Life goes on and winners and losers continue to enjoy their social and economic lives without any acrimony. It is time to change, to redefine the rules of engagement in politics, to be more gracious in speech and in actions, to embrace political opponents as worthy adversaries and also as peers who can join you with a mug of beer when the jostling is over. The sadness that is being felt now, this evening at Hong Lim Park, should be a turning point in our political culture. Let this be the last sad story in our political history and be a new beginning, that politics is an engaging ambition for good people to step forward to serve the country in grace and humility. Let the winners and losers all be happy people, giving due regard and respect for each other. And on the passing of an elder statesman, be an occasion to relive the good memories of the past and comradeship. We deserve a better political system and culture for the good of everyone.


Anonymous said...

Inshaallah... let past in the history ... take lesson... move toward right direction. must learn to agree to disagree. our politictions must develop very thick skin instead of taking everything personally.

Anonymous said...

'In American and Europe, you do not see the extent of helplessness in defeat for the losers of an election'

That is why we can never achieve the status of a gracious and caring soceity in a thousand years. Third world politics it is, not first world. I feel ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Businessmen are likely greedy.

Asian Politicians are likely glory seeking, greedy and power crazy.

Politics in Asia is bloody and dirty or bloody dirty.

I learnt of the above from History and what I see, personally.

Can it be better? In the next century maybe, but I will not get to see.


redbean said...

we have all the opportunities to be nicer and more gracious people. still got time to do the right things and not to squander it away.

with affluence, people can be more forgiving,....i think.

Anonymous said...

"good people to step forward to serve the country in grace and humility". Hey Redbean, where have you been living all these years? In Singapore people do not step forward to serve, they are there because there is the jackpot to be claimed. First world country, don't make me laugh !!

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean, can you pass the joint around. Thta's good shit you're smokin'!

redbean said...

wow, finally i have succeeded in making people laugh : )

and matilah like it too. must be good stuff huh?

Anonymous said...

I think you have said what has often not been thought of. In all the droning of incorruptibility, efficiency and being of the highest nature, we seemed to have forgotten honour and nobility. Well said.

redbean said...

with too much power, too much money, too much at stake, we have lost our bearings.

poor beans, in greatness they lost themselves.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Honour and nobility sank a long time ago -- when the idea that "the govt will look after me" took hold.

When people have the Entitlement Mentality, the govt, at the behest of the "majority" can seize private property for "the common good".

In other words, the govt can LEGALLY steal from private citizens. There is no honour nor nobility in that, and so those two ANCIENT ideas have long since died.

redbean said...

the singaporeans do not want to be looked after by the govt. it is the govt who insisted that it must looked after the people by compulsion with all its wise schemes.

the people are telling the govt, please don't help us. thank you very much.

the people are suffering from a new phobia. they are frightened whenever the govt said it wants to help them.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> the people are telling the govt, please don't help us. <

I think you'd better straighten out your brain before you have a stroke there. ;-)

In reality there is no such thing as "The People". What there is are INDIVIDUAL human beings, and the MAJORITY of them want govt help.

Just listen to the video on CNA or ST websites: everytime the govt comes up with a policy -- like "baby bonus" -- the majority of those interviewed support it.

In other words, most individuals will decide for themselves: if they are getting money in their pocket, they will support the govt. If money leaves their pocket, they curse the government.

Sound to me like some kind of mass mental disease!

redbean said...

matilah, there are different kinds of help. the type when the govt is throwing money at everyone, no one is saying no to it.

but the kind of help when the govt is taking our money away from us is not welcomed by many.

i want my money back no matter how good is the intention and how good is the scheming.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> i want my money back no matter how good is the intention <

All I say is "I wish you luck".

Because I believe that jesus fella might come back before you see a penny of your now sunken money.